Metroid Prime Artist Reveals Cancelled Zelda Game
While we wait patiently for the next The Legend of Zelda game, a 2022 release for Breath of the Wild 2 isn't the only piece of frustrating piece of Zelda news this year. It turns out, the studio behind Metroid Prime had been working on a Zelda spinoff - before Nintendo pulled the plug.
It's a huge year for the Triforce, as The Legend of Zelda celebrates 35 years of saving the kingdom. The titular princess has fought with Link by her side for the past three decades, and while they've journeyed through the likes of Hyrule, Termina, Skyloft, and the Twilight Realm, the story of good versus evil has remained a constant. So, what was a cancelled Zelda game supposed to bring to the table?
What was the cancelled Zelda game?
Once upon a Hyrule, Retro Studios has been working on a Zelda spinoff that would've finally put the focus on the Sheik. Speaking to IGN, ex-Retro Studios concept artist Sammy Hall explained how the cancelled Zelda game was going to centre on "the last male Sheik". Discussing concept art, Hall told the site, "I doubt many at Nintendo proper saw much of any of this stuff. I was mostly put into a room like Milton from Office Space and tasked to brainstorm between other projects".
Hall posted a concept on his ArtStation account a few years ago. Even though most have been deleted, the drawing is entitled "Dark Gerudo" and has the following description: "More stuff from a long lost cancelled Zelda (Sheik) action/jrpg that never went beyond pre-production...Really want to return to these someday to finish a few. Zelda games have wacky weird stuff, and this game was setting out to be ten times weirder".
The cancelled Zelda game was going to take place "after the dark timeline of Ocarina of Time", meaning we could've had a sequel set in the "Hero is Defeated" path. Set in the era where Link is bested by Ganon, this new Sheik would've toured a ruined Hyrule where a Dark Gerudo tribe is trying to resurrect Ganon. There's also the idea that the cancelled Zelda game would've given an origin to the Master Sword. Of course, that idea was later revisited in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Why was the Zelda game cancelled?
According to Hall, ex-Retro leads Mark Pacini, Todd Keller, and Kynan Pearson had planned to explore the world of Zelda, however, it was "cancelled the week they went to create their other studios". Remembering that Metroid Prime was itself a spinoff of the Metroid series, it's likely Nintendo hoped Retro could continue its success with The Legend of Zelda.
Although the cancelled Zelda game was in the work sometime around 2005 to 2008, it was the splitting of Retro Studios talent that led to the project's axe. It's unclear whether Zelda's Sheik would've appeared in the title, but it's easy to imagine the ass-kicking heroine getting her time to shine. Alongside a full-blown Wind Waker sequel, it looks like Retro's Sheik's adventure has been confined to the history books.